Catnip Essential Oil

Catnip is also known as cat mint because of its mint like aroma and its behavioral effects on cats.

Although it is more popular for the stimulating effect it has on cats, catnip is a popular medicinal herb and is used to treat a variety of ailments.

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The botanical name of catnip is Nepeta Cataria.

Nepeta Cataria has been used as a medicinal herb for thousands of years and has many health benefits. The carminative property of the herb makes it as a good digestive tonic in humans, especially helpful in cases of an upset stomach and excessive gas. It helps by stimulating gastric secretions in the digestive tract.

Physical properties

Color: Pale yellow/orange

Odor: Herbaceous with a subdued mint aroma

Consistency: Medium

Aroma strength:  Medium

Origin

Nepeta cataria is a plant in the Lamiaceae family and is a native of Asia and Europe. Since the fifteenth century, Catnip has been used in herbal remedies for humans and is most commonly consumed as an herbal drink in Europe.

How to extract

Nepetalactone is the main chemical constituent of Nepeta cataria and can be extracted from Catnip leaves by the process of steam distillation.

Chemical composition

The chemical composition of catnip includes the following:

  • Nepetalactone
  • Veleric acid
  • Geraniol
  • Monoterpene
  • Neptalic anhydride
  • Citral
  • Liminene
  • Dispentine
  • Thymol
  • Citronella
  • Carotenoids
  • Nerol

Catnip leaves contain vitamins C and E that are excellent antioxidants. The presence of nepetalactone, a primary photochemical, attributes to the mild sedative property of catnip oil. Without affecting the individual adversely, it works as a potent sleep-inducer. In cats, it is regarded as a harmless high. Catnip can also be used as an insect repellant.

Precautions

  • Catnip oil may cause skin irritation, so use it with caution.
  • Avoid use of catnip oil during pregnancy.
  • Do not take internally without consulting a certified aromatherapist.
  • Do not apply concentrated essential oils topically; dilute the oil and then apply it on the skin.
  • People with health conditions such as epilepsy and cancer should consult a qualified aromatherapy practitioner as well as their doctor before using essential oils.

Benefits

Catnip essential oil is used as an anesthetic, anti-inflammatory, and antirheumatic agent.

It also serves as an astringent, insecticide, nervine, and sedative.

  • Apart from treating digestive problems, catnip essential oil is useful in times of stress as it has a calming effect. Nepetalactone, the prime chemical present in Nepeta cataria, is similar to that of the ingredient present is valerian root. Hence, catnip essential oil is used to treat sleeping disorders like insomnia.
  • Owing to it antimicrobial property, catnip is also used to treat influenza and the common cold.
  • Catnip essential oil is used traditionally to treat hives, measles, and chicken pox.
  • Catnip oil is beneficial for people suffering from chronic gas. It can also be used to treat infant colic as it expels gas from the intestines quickly and safely. However, always check with your doctor before self-medicating children and infants.

Therapeutic Applications

  • Catnip can cure all problems related with cramps or spasms as it is antispasmodic.
  • Catnip is a stimulant and has diaphoretic properties. So, it is used for detoxification and weight loss.
  • Since catnip oil strengthens nerves and activates them, it acts as a tonic for nervous system and helps in the management of nervous disorders like Parkinson’s disease, vertigo, Alzheimer’s disease.

Blends well with

Catnip oil blends well with grapefruit, lavender, lemon, marjoram, peppermint, orange, rosemary and spearmint oils.

How to make catnip tea

Catnip tea is good for colds and other infectious diseases like measles because without increasing the heat of the body, it can induce sleep. To make catnip tea, steep 1 teaspoon of dried leaves or 1 tablespoon of fresh catnip leaves in one cup of boiling water. After 10 minutes, strain the tea. You could add some honey to sweeten the tea.

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Catnip Essential Oil
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